As your baby begins to approach the six-month mark, there’s no doubt that your thoughts have turned to weaning and the weaning journey. Whilst introducing your baby to solid foods is an exciting adventure for the both of you, it is also one which is clouded with anxiety and confusion. There is so much conflicting advice, both online and in the real world, that it makes it difficult to know where to even start. When is the right time to get started? How should you introduce new foods? What about allergies and choking risks?

If these questions, and more, have been playing on your mind, then there’s no doubt that you’re anxious about it all. Ensuring your child has a positive weaning experience is vital for later on in life, so here are some tips for getting started with a positive weaning journey.

Making sure your baby is ready for weaning
You’ve probably heard that it is best to start weaning your baby onto solid foods once they reach six-months old. This is because it is likely that your baby is showing 3 key signs that they are ready to start eating solid foods:
- Your baby is able to stay in a sitting position, with their head held steady for at least a few seconds
- Your baby has strong hand-eye coordination which allows them to look at and pick up food, as well as putting it into their mouth
- Your baby has lost their tongue-thrust reflex, which allows them to swallow food, rather than spitting it back out

You may also have noticed that your baby has started paying more attention to the foods you are eating and reaching for them, which is a good indication that they are ready to start trying solid foods.

First foods
Once you are confident your baby is ready for weaning onto solids, then you can start preparing their first solid foods! Some of the most scientifically proven evidence shows that introducing vegetables, one at a time, is a good way to get your baby to take their first tastes of solid foods. By introducing a different vegetable at a time, you are letting your baby’s precious taste palate recognise and remember individual flavours.

Vegetables such as sweet potatoes, broccoli, carrot and butternut squash are all great foods to start with and work well as a puree, mash or even as soft cooked batons. With fruits, you might want to try adding cooked apple or pear.

Preparing them for the future
To make sure that your baby grows up accepting a wide range of different tastes and textures, it is important to give them lots of variety in foods from the very beginning. You should also make sure that the natural flavours are not masked with additives, such as salt or sugar because, as they grow, your baby’s food habits will become more enriched as they begin to identify the foods they like and dislike. This is important, so that they are on the right track to a healthy diet as they grow into adults - right from the initial stages of weaning.

Baby led weaning
If you’d rather not spend hours cooking and pureeing fruits and vegetables, then baby led weaning is a tried and trusted method which allows your baby to feed themselves right from the get-go. Baby led weaning encourages independence, especially when it comes to food choice and has been around for a long time. It means generally just offering your baby finger foods, which they can feed themselves from the start. Baby led weaning, however, tends to be a little bit messier than spoon feeding, so you may want to look into weaning bibs!

Some people prefer this approach when it comes to their babies, or even a combination of baby led and spoon feeding. Remember that there is no right or wrong way when it comes to feeding your baby, so long as they are eating and enjoying a wide variety of different foods.

Author's Bio: 

Natalie Wilson is a freelance health and wellness writer. She loves researching and writing about new health trends and topics, as well as keeping up to date with the latest health news. When not writing, you can find her taking long walks in the countryside with her dog or browsing her nearest bookstore. You can connect with her on Twitter @NatWilson976.